Go Go, Jeddah Girls!!

Posted: August 9, 2010 in Uncategorized

On a very hot and humid summer day in Jeddah, a spark of life emerged. While many were spending their summer morning asleep in their cozy beds and air-conditioned rooms, some were out there trying to make a difference. In a small school at Jeddah, over 45 young girls gathered to prepare and pack food supplies for needy families. Fortunately, I had the privilege to be with them and lead an amazing team of 5 enthusiastic girls.

Arranged and planned by two outstanding young ladies, who refused to have their names mentioned, Ramadan food supplies project was on the go from 08:30 am till 04:00 pm. Of course, work started about a month ago when the project leaders started collecting donations for the food supplies project. They managed to raise SR 37000 to help support 200 needy families in Jeddah.

When I arrived there, I was amazed at the way the work was organized. There were 3 production lines for packing 300 cartoons that contain equal items of food. Everything was calculated so well. We were divided into teams; each team consisted of 5 to 8 girls and a leader to supervise, arrange, and check the items before wrapping the cartoon boxes. There was a ready-made list for each team member to make sure that each box has the same items. Every team had to pack 50 cartoon boxes of group A (2 frying oil bottles – 8 packs of noodles – 8 cans of cream – 1 can of honey – 6 cans of tuna – 4 packs of detergent – 2 packs of dates – 4 jars of spread cheese – 2 boxes of milk – 2 sacks of salt – two packs of tomato sauce – 2 bottles of concentrated Vimto juice) and group B (2 kilos of flour – rice – grains – lentils – sugar).

The boxes when we first arrived...and Mohammad, my son, popping up in every picture!

Getting started!

empty boxes ready to be packed

The first thing we had to do was to open the flat empty boxes and prepare them to be packed. Then each member had to fill the cartoon boxes with the items on her list, and I had to check the items and wrap each box and number it to signify that it was ready to go out. Other girls’ job was to take the boxes out to the school yard in order to have the guys take them to the cars.

The energy was very positive and extraordinary! It was like one happy energetic beehive. There was no time for chatting and gossip, but we were all working cheerfully and playfully. It wasn’t an easy mission though; the boxes were heavy and the amount of supplies was huge. Girls who most probably have never helped their mothers with the house chores were working, moving everywhere, and carrying heavy stuff from place to place. Of course, from time to time, I would here a whining moan “Ouch! My back hurts…my feet…ooooh …Yuk! my hands got dusty!” or “It’s too hot! Does this have an end?!!” As for me, I kept saying “I need a shower!!”

I wanted to take pictures of the girls in action, but I couldn’t because they had to wear hijab, and of course, it was impossible to do all the work with hijab on. During the 30 minutes break, I wanted to take pictures of the girls, but most of them refused saying “Are you kidding? We look awful!” And they really did look awful, but I still love them 🙂  In fact, we all looked terrible , but that didn’t really matter because we were working for a great cause; to contribute in making some poor families happy.

Preparing Group B after having finished group A

Mohammad helping me number the packed boxes

The youngest participants along with my lovely friend Sumaya

What really pleased me was seeing very young girls working so sincerely with us …Girls of all ages participated in that tiring yet fruitful experience…The youngest girl was a cute sixth grader called Nahla ..there was also my son (7 years old) and the oldest “gal” was none other than myself  🙂  I loved the girls in my team (Reem – Afrah – Nebras – Renad – Sundus – Malak – and two others who came as extra support…didn’t get the chance to know their names as everything was going so fast). And I just have to say that I mostly loved Reem…Once I saw her energy and her passion, I asked her “what is your horoscope?” and she immediately replied “cancer”. Of course, I could sense that such an amazing girl must be a cancer like myself …just kidding 😉

Thanks to all the lovely girls who worked with me….I had a wonderful time…a precious experience….and I got out full of love and satisfaction.

Great thanks to the distinguished girls behind the project, which started in 2004 and is becoming better and bigger every year…I just want to add that the girls behind the project are about 25 years old…they refused to have their names mentioned because they don’t want it to seem as a show off of charity work. They don’t care about having their names anywhere…they just want to make others happy and get the reward from Allah…..they want to make a difference in their own small circle. The project didn’t need any official permission, nor was it done by the help of any important or notable figure…all that it needed was a group of enthusiastic, proactive, and professional girls.

Special thanks for all the mothers who prepared and bought the meals for us to munch on during the break….we really needed the food! 🙂

My love and appreciation to all those who work in silence and want to make a positive change in our society.

Ramadan Kareem to all!

  1. Red Swan says:

    Great article I wish I knew about it I would of participated as well. I congratulate these young girls and wish them great success in the future with projects like this.

    • مها نور إلهي says:

      Thanks my dear Red Swan!
      Next time I will let you know, so you will be with us.

      • Shifa Aftab says:

        a beautiful article..! i would be obliged to be a part of this or maybe write about events as such and spread awareness 🙂

  2. Great …

    It is really interesting to see that the concept of ‘volunteering work’ is getting recognition and acceptance in the society especially among the youth sector.

    To all of you … a lot of luck 🙂

    • مها نور إلهي says:

      Dear Saad,
      Thank you for your encouraging comment and I hope the concept of volunteer work spreads more and more.

  3. Ah that was an unforgettable day! we’ve worked so hard! kollo fi meezan al 7asanat inshallah 😀

  4. besbes says:

    woow.. masha’allah
    that was great … may Allah reward you all ..
    seems like it was so much fun ..
    thanx Maha for posting this lovely post which proves that Jeddah girls are active within Jeddah society.

    if you still remember Maha.. I met you in Multa8a noon. I was the one who spoke about English blogs.. sitting in the second row or the third I don’t remember lol ..

    • مها نور إلهي says:

      Thank you, besbes for your encouraging comment…and surly i remember you 🙂
      Glad to have you comment in my blog.

  5. Chiara says:

    Great tribute to your efforts, and a great suggestion for how others might organize charity and volunteer efforts! 🙂

    • مها نور إلهي says:

      Thank you my dear Chiara for your encouraging comment..and I really hope that this post inspires others to do a much better job than what we had done.

  6. Chiara says:

    Oh and you are linked in my second post on Ramadan and Remembering Pakistan:

    Life in the time of the cholera?
    Parts II, III, and IV: The Floods and Sociobiology; The Response; Katrina 5 Years On

    Your efforts are a great model.

  7. kutty says:

    hia can yu send e-mail.

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